RCN - Not In My Name
Janet Davies, the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), has announced that a panel of RCN staff and members will be deciding on a positioning statement for the RCN on the complete removal of all legal restriction and sanctions regarding abortion.

If these measures were to be implemented, it would mean the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, to at least 28 weeks and possibly up to birth. Ann Furedi, the CEO of abortion provider BPAS, who are running the campaign to ‘decriminalise’ abortion, has made it clear that they are aiming for the latter, the introduction of abortion up to birth.

The Royal College of Midwives’ position in support of ‘decriminalisation’, which saw a large public backlash when it was adopted, has subsequently been used extensively by abortion provider BPAS as a key plank in their political lobbying for the introduction of abortion, on demand, for any reason up to birth.

Ahead of this panel deciding the position, the RCN are running a ‘survey’ of the RCN membership which does not allow for members of the RCN to vote on the specific wording of the final positioning statement. It instead asks a single question on whether members support or oppose the broad concept of ‘decriminalisation’ and only commits that members’ input will ‘inform’ the work that will lead to the final position this panel will decide on.

If you are a nurse, midwife, health care assistant or nursing student please take action by putting your name to our public joint letter (below) to the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nurses, Janet Davies, to voice your concern about this extreme move.

Explanatory notes: http://bit.ly/2DrU2j9
For any questions please contact: rcnnotinmyname@gmail.com

Letter to Janet Davies
The Royal College of Nursing have announced that a panel of RCN staff and members will be deciding on a positioning statement on the complete removal of all legal restriction and sanctions regarding abortion. If these measures were to be implemented, it would mean the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, to at least 28 weeks and possibly up to birth.

Ahead of this panel deciding the position the RCN are running a ‘survey’ of the RCN membership which does not allow for members of the RCN to vote on the specific wording of the final positioning statement. It instead asks a single question on whether members support or oppose the broad concept of ‘decriminalisation’ and only commits that this will ‘inform’ the work that will lead to the final position statement this panel will decide on.

It is completely unacceptable that all members of the RCN will not been given the opportunity to vote on the specific wording of this significant change in policy.

As nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students, we object to a new extreme position being forced upon members of the RCN. We represent a variety of positions on the issue of abortion, but believe that supporting so called ‘decriminalisation’ is out of keeping with both our duties as responsible professionals and the expressed wishes of British women with regards to the legality and regulation of abortion.

In the last few years, polls have consistently shown that a larger proportion of women want more, not fewer restrictions on abortion. A ComRes poll in May 2017 found that only 1% of women wanted to see the time limit for abortion extended above 24 weeks and only 1% of women wanted to see the time limit for abortion extended through to birth. The same poll found that 70% of women wanted to see the abortion time limit reduced to 20 weeks or below. The poll also found that 91% of women favour a total and explicit ban on sex-selective abortion, up from 88% from a poll in March 2014, which also found that 92% of women agree that a woman requesting an abortion should be seen in person by a qualified doctor. Clearly, women want the law to be stricter on the legality and regulation of abortion, not more lax.

This move to introduce a radical abortion law is being promoted by a small group of campaigners with extreme views on abortion. Whilst they are entitled to hold the convictions they do we must not let them impose their agenda on the RCN and risk severely damaging its reputation as a professional body.

The Royal College of Midwives saw a major media and public backlash following their announcement that they would be supporting a campaign to introduce abortion for any reason, up to birth. Many commentators on this controversy were pro-choice but recognised that taking this position was an extreme move, and the outrage caused reputational damage both to the Royal College of Midwives and to the wider midwifery profession.

Where required, we are responsible for the care of both women and their babies throughout pregnancy and childbirth and the current law, however imperfect, is an attempt to recognise that the life and health of both mother and baby need legal protection. It would be unacceptable for the organisation that represents us to support the radical position (supported by only a small minority of women) that all legal protection for babies should be removed, possibly right through to birth.

We, the undersigned, wish to state publicly that any policy which seeks to remove abortion from its current legal framework, does not represent us or our views. This extreme move does not reflect the moderate and reasonable views of the majority of British women and the general public on this issue, and would severely damage the reputation of both the RCN and the medical profession.

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